In Kanyakubj town (Kannauj) there lived a Brahmin named Ajmil. He had deserted his wife and had spoilt his whole life in his infatuation for a prostitute. To please her he could commit the gravest of the sins without caring a bit. He caused various pains to various people to please her and thus lived for eighty years. He had ten sons from that prostitute and named the youngest of them as Narayana.
Ajamil loved his son Narayana a lot and all the while he was engrossed in his thoughts- how nice talks my Narayana; how nice does he play… In this way he spent most of his time in feeding, bathing, dressing and taking his child for play etc. and was least aware that the death was knocking at his door. When the time of his death finally came, he was still thinking about his sons.
At the time of death Ajamil saw three fearsome messengers of Yama (Lord of Death), who had twisted mouths, long body hair and noose in hands. The messengers of Yama tied his subtle body with a rope and readied themselves to separate it from the gross body. Right at that moment out of utter perplexity he called out his son whom he loved the most. O Narayana! O Narayana!!
The sooner he uttered ‘Narayana’ from his mouth, the Parshads (attendants) of the supreme God arrived and noticed that the messengers of Yama were pulling the subtle body of Ajmil to separate it from the gross one. They prevented Yama’s messengers from doing so.
Yama’s messengers asked- who are you all? Why are you obstructing our works? Don’t you know that we are the messengers of Dharmaraj (Yama)? Where from have you come?
The Parshads of supreme Lord Vishnu said to the messengers of Yama- if you are following the dictates of Dharamaraj, tell us what is dharama (the righteousness). Please also tell how and who is punished? Whoever has committed sins deserves to be punished or is there any such person who does not have to undergo punishment despite committing sins? Is there any such rule? Why are you taking Ajmil with you?
The messengers of Yama said that Ajmil have no sense of ego. He was kind to all, did not speak unnecessarily and ignored the faults of others. One, who possesses these qualities is considered to be a good person.
How such a good person got engaged in wrong deeds? The messengers of Yama said that one day, according the orders of his father Ajmil went to forest to collect flowers, leaves and Kusha (sacred grass). While returning, he saw a prostitute on way and got involved with her. He even deserted his wife and to please the prostitute started doing meanest of the works. Now, we have come here to take him to Yamaraj (Lord of Death), who will send him to the hell for atonement of his sins.
The attendants of God, the supreme being, then said- you all have, in fact, ruined the dharma. Your decision to take Ajamil is wrong. O messengers of Yamaraj! Ajamil has not only atoned the sins that he had committed in this birth but those of his previous births also. He had uttered the auspicious name of supreme God ‘Narayana’. Matters little if he has done so in a helpless state. All his sins got erased. The very moment he uttered the name of ‘Narayana’. God embraces the one, who pronounces his name and then cleans all his sins himself.
So O messengers of Yama! At the time of death since he had uttered the name of God, all his sins have been washed away and as such please do not take him along with you. As fuel gets burnt with the contact of fire knowingly or unknowingly. Similarly if someone invokes the name of God, even if unknowingly, all his sins are destroyed. Even if somebody, who has scant respect for God, utters the name of God, utters the name of God, his sins would be destroyed.
Having heard this from the Parshads (attendents) of god, the Yamdoots (messengers of Yama) took out the noose from the subtle body of Ajmil.
When they came back to Lord Dhramaraj, they explained the details of the incident to him. Thus Ajmil escaped the noose of death. His mind and heart became pure and sacred and devotion towards God got awakened in his inner faculties. He was now repentant- ‘Alas! I have committed so many misdeeds in my life. In my involvement with a prostitute I have fathered so many children and have spoilt my qualities. Curse on me! I am a sinner, but feeling differently with the sight that I have seen just now. I wonder whether it was a dream or an experience while I was awake. Where have those people disappeared, who were pulling me having tied the noose! They were taking me to the hell but for accomplished persons got me released. Although I have committed so many sins but definitely I might have done some good Karma (deed) that I could have the sight of God’s attendants. The very recollection of theirs is filling me with joy.
Ajmil thought- I was so deceitful and a sinner yet I uttered the sacred name of God that destroyed all my vices and contented me. Now I will keep clear of evil deeds and will sing and praise God.
Ajmil renounced his family and went away to Haridwar, where he practiced yoga to keep a control on himself. Then he had the darshan (sights) of those four Parishads of God, whom he had seen earlier. Having their darshan Ajamil gave up his body on the banks of the Ganges. He became a parshad himself and proceeded to vaikuntha (heavenly abode of Lord Vishnu) riding over an aerial vehicle.